DUSTIN WOODWARD appears in Hancock County Common Pleas Court Tuesday for his sentencing on six pandering sexually oriented material convictions. The Arcadia man was sentenced to seven years in prison and was ordered to register as a Tier II sex offender. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

By EILEEN MCCLORY
STAFF WRITER

The father of a 6-year-old girl inhaled cigarette smoke outside the Hancock County Common Pleas Court Tuesday after watching the man convicted of sex charges involving his daughter receive a seven-year prison sentence.

“I thought he would get more than that,” the father said. The prosecutor in the case had recommended 20 years in prison.

The defendant, Dustin Woodward, 33, of Arcadia, was sentenced Tuesday morning. He pleaded no contest to six counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor, a child pornography charge. Each charge is a second-degree felony.

Woodward also was ordered to register as a Tier II sex offender, which is a middle ground in Ohio’s classification of sex offenders. Woodward must register with a local sheriff’s office every six months for 25 years, among other stipulations.

The six charges involved three separate incidents where photos were taken, prosecutors said. The incidents occurred between April 1, 2017, and May 31, 2017, according to the indictment.

The victim was 6 years old at the time of the events, according to court records. She was not in court on Tuesday. The Courier does not identify victims of sexual assault.

Woodward was originally indicted on 12 counts of gross sexual imposition, each a third-degree felony, and 12 counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor, each a second-degree felony, for a total of 24 counts.

He pleaded no contest to six of the pandering charges. In the plea agreement, Woodward stipulated to the facts in the offenses and that there was enough evidence for Judge Reginald Routson, who heard the case, to find him guilty.

Woodward has been held in the Hancock County jail since Aug. 23, 2017.

An aunt spoke for the victim in court on Tuesday, telling Routson that Woodward’s actions had a traumatic effect on their family.

“Even though (the victim) doesn’t remember, she was still deeply affected by the coming out of it, and that needs to be recognized,” the aunt said.

Woodward was accused of took photos of the girl’s genitalia while she was asleep on three occasions.

Routson said the incident did not appear to include physical sexual assault, and he was glad the photos had never ended up distributed on the internet.

However, he said the circumstances of the case meant something more than just Woodward taking photos of a girl, and the crimes were a breach of privacy.

“We adults have a special duty to protect children,” Routson said.

Woodward apologized to the victim and both families present in his statement to the court, and added he was looking for a change.

“Over the last 13 months, I have realized that with God, all things are possible,” Woodward said. “I am deeply ashamed of my actions.”

Woodward’s defense lawyer, John W. McMahon, indicated during court proceedings Tuesday that he would file an appeal of the sentence.

McClory: 419-427-8497
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Twitter: @CourierEileen

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